Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「Rebellion in Hoban」Part 1
“Even if you say it will cause a problem, we can’t fulfill our objective if we don’t enter the castle.”
Ariane spoke in a sullen tone to the small boy who was holding out his arms in front of her.
This boy had revealed the location of the secret passage into the castle to us, yet he was telling us not to use it.
Ariane was an elven warrior who had a mission to fulfill, yet she still seemed slightly irritated lately.
“Sil, if you have a reason we should not proceed then speak up.”
I closed the panel and sit on the stairs so we could listen to what he had to say.
Sil’s eyes restlessly dotted back and forth while he was lost in thought before he started talking again.
“Hoban is already suffering due to the heavy taxation…… The unreasonable tax even caused my mother and father to die of illness…… The citizens were planning to start a revolt…… however, right before the plan could be carried out, another feudal was assassinated. As a result, the guards in the town and castle have been heavily reinforced……”
When Ariane heard Sil’s words her eyes started to swim while I awkwardly looked down.
The increased number of guards and the strange inspections were all because of that Lord’s death due to Ariane’s actions. Hoban’s lord was probably scared of an elven surprise attack.
A feudal lord selling elven slaves had been killed, so those who bought said slaves would naturally act more cautiously.
“It took a large amount of money to reinforce the guards, which caused the taxes to be raised even higher…… The person who told me about this secret passage is part of the rebellion, but due to the increased amount of guards they had to change their plans for safety’s sake. The panel was something they believed to be impossible to lift with human strength……”
He kept looking at me as he talked as if he had something difficult to say.
Certainly, if the guards had been strengthened then our secret entrance could be blocked, but a rebellion might solve that problem.
Sil had said that the entrance shown to us as a reward was believed to be unusable and that he thought I’d be upset that it wouldn’t open. He even prepared to offer me a different reward instead.
In any case, had Diento’s lord not been assassinated, then the rebellion would have gone on as planned, and there’d have been a chance that the elves would have been freed……
When I turned to Ariane, I saw that she was crouched down on the floor while still holding Ponta.
Since we were somewhat responsible for this, we couldn’t say no to a way to fix both problems…… I think.
“Hmm, how about we sneak into the castle using the rebellion as a cover?”
While the rebels try to overthrow the feudal lord, we’ll use this entrance to get inside the castle. With the rebellion underway, we could search for the elven slaves without much issue.
If we carry out our operation in the midst of the confusion there would be no need to fear pursuit either.
“I don’t particularly mind…… when will the revolt start?”
Ariane’s mood seemed to improve as she crossed her arms in tentative approval and asked for the date of the revolt.
It surely would be awkward if the new date of the revolt was set in January or the like.
“I can’t tell you without speaking to Labatt first……”
Sil looked down with a sorrowful expression as he spoke.
It’s something that couldn’t be helped, I doubted that a kid like Sil could lay the groundwork for a rebellion of this scale.
Without the agreement of the person behind the rebellion, it would be impossible to coordinate the operation. The question is if that person would be willing to accept the proposal of two unknown people……
It’s a pretty thin hope───
In my heart, I let out a sigh.
Following Sil’s suggestion, we quietly let him lead us to the base of the person called Labatt.
We returned to the wall that connected the passage to the sewer and by the time we got back to the bridge the sun was almost completely gone
Sil guided us through the dark slums that only had a few lamps to act as small light sources.
Before long, we reached a building that was slightly less disheveled than the ones surrounding it.
Unlike the neighboring buildings, there was a stone wall surrounding the base. Sil walked up to the door and knocked on it in a coded rhythm before someone opened the door and spoke to him in a low tone.
The person that opened the door looked at us with suspicion, yet he prompted us to enter with a jerk of his chin.
Ariane and I entered the building obediently.
Inside we were met with the glares of several solemn-faced men. In the back of the dimly lit room, there was a large dining room table, and a single man set there watching us.
The man was in his mid-thirties and had brown hair and a mustache. The wounds on his toned arms didn’t give the impression that this man was a farmer.
There was also a porridge-like meal in front of the man.
“Sil, I’ve told you before that you have to send word ahead before you bring guests here……”
After the man glanced at me, he ate a spoonful of the porridge and looked back at Sil.
“Sorry, Mr. Labatt. I was in a hurry……In fact──”
Sil summed up everything while Labatt listened to to the whole story with his arms crossed.
“Oh, Arc was it? You must have extraordinary strength to be able to lift that heavy panel, and you used healing magic to fix bone fractures…… You plan to use the secret entrance while our plan is underway? However, how can I trust someone who doesn’t even reveal his face?”
Labatt was evidently amused, because he smiled while asking the question.
I’m covered in full body armor and haven’t even taken off my helmet, while Ariane was covered head to toe by her cloak that concealed her face. We were completely suspicious.
So it was no wonder that they would doubt us no matter what we said,
“We’re not particularly looking for your trust. We don’t mind if this talk is called off right now. We will simply use the passage to enter the castle on our own……”
“What was that!?”
At our one-sided declaration, one of the stern men became so angry that Labatt had to hold out his hand to stop him.
“You have business in the castle? Perhaps you are elves……?”
Behind me, Ariane reacted slightly after hearing his words..
The surrounding men did not know what was happening so they looked around at each other.
“What makes you think that?”
“A few days ago, the feudal lord of Diento was assassinated and rumor has it that elves were the culprits…… since then, the feudal lord here employed those idiotic guards and gave them a single order: ‘Don’t allow a single elf into the city’ or something like that.”
Seems that a few of the feudal lords had in fact become rather cautious.
Labatt gave his guess before he let out a slow breath.
“No, it would matter if I investigate your proposal and identity now…… There’s not much time left either…… we have no other choice.”
“Ho, there’s not enough time is there?”
Hearing my question, Labatt crossed his arms and wrinkled his brows before he closed it and continued speaking while pinching the bridge of his nose.
“The first and second princes will be visiting soon. If the king’s forces arrive while we’re in the middle of a revolt, we’ll immediately be sent to the guillotine. We have to act before the princes arrive……”
“Will the date of the visit not change even if you cause a revolt?”
“……No, We’ll deal with that matter somehow once the feudal lord has been dealt with. There are various circumstances surrounding the capital’s nobles……”
Labatt lips twisted into a sneer as he spoke, and he tries to smooth down his mustache.
I see, there was another person pulling the strings behind this revolt. We were caught in the middle of the power struggle between nobles. Although I don’t know their intentions, it is probably just one noble trying to absorb another’s land into their own territory, meaning that this person was probably employed to eliminate the obstructing noble.
When the current lord was killed, I could only hope that a slightly better one is installed, for Shea’s and Sil’s sake.
“Actually, I was supposed to be receiving a good amount of fighting strength from the capital…… but just the other day, they were hit pretty bad by a group of monsters. So I was in a tight spot when we realized that the secret entrance couldn’t be used……”
“That’s unfortunate. So when will you carry out your operation?”
“That’s sudden, but convenient for us.”
“The preparations are already done, all that’s left to do is to give the order. If I send the message to our friends now, the collaborators inside the castle will move as well. Sil, could you guide Arc to the secret entrance by the time operation starts?”
When Labatt addressed him, Sil replied straight away.
Ariane, Ponta and I will just have to kill time for now.
When we returned downtown, the lights in the stores were still on. People were eating and drinking liquor and a few women outside the brothels propositioned me along the way
Hoban was brighter and more bustling than other cities I’ve been. It took advantage of it’s position as a stopover point for the trading route between the Rinburuto Archdukedom and Rhoden’s royal capital, and because of that the elf-made, magical crystal lamps were everywhere
There were lively shops everywhere and a few stalls had kebab-like meals set out on large leaves for sale. Before we headed back to the shack, we bought a few of them for Shea and Sil, together with a dish called chana which looked like salted and boiled chick peas that were tightly packed within some wrapping
“Hmm, which way to Sil’s home……”
On the way back from buying dinner, we lost our way looking around the labyrinthine slum.
“This way, Arc”
Ariane started to walk ahead of me with Ponta in her arms.
Elves have the ability to navigate the forest without getting lost, and apparently they could even find their way through a city.
I, who always got lost in Japan’s Umeda Dungeon¹, couldn’t help but be a little envious.
“This has gotten rather complicated…… is there a way for us to get into the castle without using the secret passage?”
While Ariane led the way, she asked that question.
“Ariane-dono, I think that you are partially responsible for their current situation.”
“Th-That’s! ……I’m already aware of that……”
She responded to my little tease a little frazzled.
“This time, the feudal lord will be dealt with by the rebellion, so our objective hasn’t changed.”
“Well……, as long as we can help my brethren imprisoned in the castle. This is a one-time thing.
I heard her determined words as we finally reached Sil’s shack.
When we entered, Sil and Shea were eating what appeared to be small dried beans.
Ariane encouraged the two to eat the meal we had bought for them a while ago.
Sil was reluctant at first, but when we said that it was necessary that his sister eat properly for her recovery, the two began to stuff their faces with great relish.
Meat and beans might not be the most nutritious meal, but it was be better than just the water and dry beans they had before.
“Why aren’t you eating Mr.Knight?”
Shea looked puzzled while she stuffed her mouth with food, her cute gesture was like that of a hamster.
“I had a treat at the shop some time ago. So you should eat without reserve.”
I stroked Shea’s head as I told her that lie.
I had to avoid removing my helmet in public as much as possible, and while I was trusting these kids, I couldn’t recklessly frighten them.
While Ariane bought a bit of the chana to her mouth, our eyes met for a brief moment but she said nothing.
Somehow she understood what I was doing.
However, without bothering to say anything, Ariane took a look around the neighborhood before using her earth and fire spirit magic to create a wall around the shack to keep the draft out from where the kids slept.
¹ It’s a large underground mall in Japan